When I was in high school, my girlfriend’s sister was an absolute maniac about Rick Springfield.
You remember him, don’t you? Soap opera star turned rock singer? Jessie’s girl?
<<<====== This guy?
I wasn’t very nice about it back then. I told her the blunt truth.
But despite my best efforts, the 14 year old girl continued her infatuation with good old Rick.
In my thinking, it’s a sad situation when a person is elevated so high in another’s mind.
It get’s crazy. Common sense is thrown out the window. Emotion takes over.
And I don’t think Christian parents think about the influence of teen idols enough…
It’s not that I’m advocating that you restrict your children from knowing about, seeing, hearing the music, or watching the movies of any of “those” people.
But I would say that you need to take a long, hard, thoughtful look at the issue through a biblical lens.
The problem with teen idols is that they are idols, and…1 Idols are very, very hard to remove once they are in place.
2 Idols have an inordinate amount of influence on those who revere them.
The longer your child “idolizes” that person, the more they will be driven to idolize them. It’s like a kiddie drug addiction, only it’s about celebrity, fame, status, and “cool-ness,” none of which is eternally lasting or edifying to their soul.
3 Idols have the power to numb the senses of their followers.
It’s unavoidable that kids seek to become like those they respect. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pop diva or a sports hero. That means your kids are going to want to look like them, dress like them, act like them, talk like them. Is that what you want?
4 Whether gold, silver, stone, or flesh and blood, idols take the place of the only true God.
When kids have an idolatrous fixation on the latest Disney channel star, they are going to have a very hard time making the choice to abandon their devotion when that Disney princess goes off the rails. The teen idol can do no wrong in their mind, so they’ll have a hard time saying that they’ve taken a wrong turn.
Very simply put, God alone deserves the degree of devotion that is given to idols. He’s the only one worthy of it. To give that kind of devotion to anyone else is equal to adultery. That’s how the LORD Himself illustrates it time and again (see this post).
I know it hurts to hear it said that way, and I don’t say it to be mean or harsh.
I say it so bluntly because you have to see the reality of what’s happened if you have any hope of making a course correction.
Let my confrontation serve you like a map for a person who is lost. Take the time to look at the reality of where you are and to reorient yourself to God’s way of looking at this issue.
How to you help your child avoid the teen idol trap1 Teach your children to value and adore God from a very early age. Their hearts need to be so full of Him, there’s no room for anyone else. It’s got to be true of you first, and then you’ll be ready to do the daily work required to lead your children there. Jesus has to become more than a name you tack on at the end of a prayer, He has to become the life-source and center of your home. 2 Continually talk about the godly characteristics the LORD wants to produce in people. You want your kids’ minds to be saturated with what God says is valuable so that when they are older, they are able to spot the things about a teen star or other celebrity that are not pleasing to God. 3 Keep up with what they are watching, listening to, etc., so that you can have conversations about the people involved. You want to have open communication with your kids. Ask them what they think about “So-and-So Music Star.” Guide them in the conversation to see the person the way God does. By doing this you’ll be modeling and teaching discernment to them. Some parents fear that they’ll be teaching their kids to become little critics, but if you emphasize humility and Christ-like compassion, you can avoid that.
If your kids are already neck deep in this problem…
- Admit your part in it.
- Begin with a prayer of repentance.
- Confess your neglect as a parent and turn to God who is willing and powerful to help you straighten things out.
Once you have that taken care of you an turn again to your children.
- Confess how you’ve failed to your kids. Let them know how sorry you are for the way you’ve let them go down the wrong path.
- Clarify the standards God expects of His people and implore them to join you in seeking after Him anew.
- Begin conversations about their heroes, music, etc. Begin dialogue with them, comparing their heroes to God’s standards. Take your time. Help them walk through the process of letting go.
- Expect resistance and difficulty.
But don’t give up. Our God is able to topple the teen idols.